Panax quinquefolius grows throughout the northern regions of North America, including New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. It has been shown to fight depression, balance blood sugar, support digestive distress caused by anxiety, improve focus and boost the immune system. In comparison, the American variety is more mild than the Asian type but still very therapeutic and usually used to treat yin deficiency instead of yang deficiency.
Ginseng contains various pharmacological components, including a series of tetracyclic triterpenoid saponins (ginsenosides), polyacetylenes, polyphenolic compounds and acidic polysaccharides. Due to the presence of these plant compounds, it has the following benefits:
Increases fertility in Men:
Some herbalists use this herb for female fertility as well, but its use for female fertility is not as common. It may be used for female fertility where the adrenals are taxed, there is general debility, digestive disorders, stress levels are high or there are autoimmune disorders present.
Supports Endocrine system function, aiding the HPA axis which supports healthy hormonal balance.
Support proper immune function, very important regarding autoimmune fertility issues such as antisperm antibodies.
May increase sex drive.
May help treat erectile dysfunction; enhanced erection.
Increases stamina, may aid in sexual performance.
Supports healthy stress response, this may help prevent and heal adrenal fatigue and sexual dysfunction associated with high stress levels.
Adrenal health and proper function are vital to proper manufacturing and release of testosterone.
Supports proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from foods, which is essential to health overall, including sperm health.
Improves Mood and Reduces Stress
A controlled study done at the Brain Performance and Nutrition Research Centre in the United Kingdom involved 30 volunteers who were given three rounds of treatments of ginseng and placebo. The study was done to gather data about ginseng’s ability to improve mood and mental function.
The results found that 200 milligrams of ginseng for eight days slowed the fall in mood but also delayed the participants’ response to mental arithmetic. The 400-milligram dose improved calmness and mental arithmetic for the duration of the eight-day treatment.
Another study done at the Division of Pharmacology at the Central Drug Research Institute tested the effects of Panax ginseng on rats with chronic stress and found that it “has significant anti-stress properties and can be used for the treatment of stress-induced disorders.” The 100-milligram dose of Panax reduced the ulcer index, adrenal gland weight and plasma glucose levels — making it a powerful medicinal options for chronic stress and a great way to deal with ulcers and adrenal fatigue.
For men with low libido, erectile dysfunction or poor fertility, American ginseng may be a supportive option. It has also been found that this plant may help control metabolic syndrome (hyperinsulinemia) and type 2 diabetes, which may affect fertility health. Studies show that a diabetic man who does not control his glucose levels has less of a chance of impregnating his partner and when he does, the risk of miscarriage and deformities are much higher.
Improves Brain Function
Ginseng stimulates brain cells and improves concentration and cognitive activities. Evidence shows that taking ginseng root daily for 12 weeks can improve mental performance in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
One study done at the Department of Neurology at the Clinical Research Institute in South Korea investigated the effectiveness of ginseng on the cognitive performance of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. After ginseng treatment, the participants showed improvements, and this upscale trend continued for three months.
After discontinuing the treatment, the improvements declined to the levels of the control group.
This suggests ginseng may work to improve Alzheimer’s symptoms and support cognitive health. Although more research on this topic is needed, one preliminary study found that a combination of American ginseng and ginkgo biloba may benefit patients with ADHD.
The study involving children ages 6–12 with ADHD symptoms showed that using a combination of omega-3 supplements and ginseng improved ADHD symptoms and cognitive function in children, including attention, memory and executive function.
Brief History of American Ginseng
American ginseng is native to the Eastern United States and Canada. Because of over-harvesting of these native plants, American ginseng is now endangered. Never purchase an herbal product labeled “wild crafted” or “wild harvested” American ginseng. Be sure the product you choose is organically cultivated.
Many Native American tribes have used American ginseng for hundreds to possibly thousands of years. Tribes that used American ginseng revered it as grandfather medicine, which simply means this plant is has big medicine. Tribes that used this herb include the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Delaware, Mohegan, Meskwaki, Iroquois, Ojibwa and Menominee. American ginseng has been used for a very long time, showing its strong and safe ability to heal. It is said that the Ojibwa were a tribe that was always sure to plant a seed of a new plant after harvesting one for medicinal use; this ensured that plant would never be at risk. Today things are vastly different; this plant is struggling to grow in its native environment.
Herbalist David Winston tells a story about his Cherokee grandfather who would add a bit of American ginseng to all of his formulas. When he asked his grandfather about this, his response was that it made everything work better. It is true that this is exactly what adaptogens do, they work to help regulate and support proper function of the body’s systems.Ginseng contains various pharmacological components, including a series of tetracyclic triterpenoid saponins (ginsenosides), polyacetylenes, polyphenolic compounds and acidic polysaccharides.